Albany County Legislature moves to ban tobacco products in county parks

May 08, 2017 05:45 PM

ALBANY – The Albany County Legislature will take up a bill Monday night (page 87 of the agenda) to ban tobacco products in county-owned parks. The legislation is part of a continuing battle from Albany County to combat kids getting addicted to cigarettes and reduce the county’s smoking rate.

It wasn’t the best day to be out on the Albany County Rail Trail. But those who were out were happy to hear that the county may soon ban smoking on the trail. “I think that would be great, yeah,” said Janet Sidford, who lives in Slingerlands and uses the trail at least once a week. “I think that would be nice.”

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Sidford says she understands why the county would look to keep cigarettes and tobacco products out of county-owned parks. “Keep the environment clean and to promote healthiness for everyone and the kids that ride the trail and everyone else,” she said.

Paul Miller of Guilderland introduced the legislation, which has 30 co-sponsors. Miller says he’s a Boy Scout Leader, and constantly sees the effects of smoking when he’s outdoors. “I’ve seen a lot of areas where there’s tobacco products left around,” said Miller. “Cigarette butts, people just seem to think that it’s not a big deal to drop their cigarette butts wherever they feel like it.”

The legislation specifically bans tobacco products at three parks: Lawson Lake County Park, the Albany County Rail Trail, and at the Ann Lee Pond Nature Preserve in Colonie. “When you’re out in nature and the woodlands, I like to have it not littered by cigarette butts,” said Miller.

Also banned by the legislation would be e-cigarettes. Miller says that’s because some contain ethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze. “Antifreeze is toxic to animals and it's also attractive to dogs in particular,” said Miller. “So we really need to make sure that that's not left around and I wanted to make sure that product wasn't left around in our county parks.”

With those 30 co-sponsors, the legislation is expected to pass on Monday night. This follows the legislature raising the age to buy tobacco products in Albany County from 18 to 21 last year.


Ben Amey

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